Frozen Thoughts, Phillip Wilkerson, Billy Gomberg, Richard Chartier + Yann Novak, Netherworld

In the Shortlist sections, I will mention the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn’t find the time (or the right words) for a “full” review for.
Still, I definitely think they deserve your attention, with or without extra words!

http://glacialmovements.bandcamp.com/album/calm-before-the-storm

FROZEN THOUGHTS – CALM BEFORE THE STORM
Frozen Thoughts is Petar Sakic, previously releasing hardcore dance music as Phobos. After hearing Biosphere’s ‘Substrata’ in 2005, he started to create his own ambient music – especially created for the Glacial Movements label, which is particularly known for its characteristic glacial (though not ‘cold’) atmosphere.

Marina Rosenfeld – P.A. – Hard Love

Apart from being an ‘ambient-electronic’ music addict, reggae music- and especially dub music – has been playing a major role in my musical life. There is a distinct crossover area between experimental electronic music and experimental dub reggae, as demonstrated by genius artists like Lee Perry and Bill Laswell (among others, of course).
Dub Music, rooted in reggae, is often very experimental music.

I have heard a lot of ‘ambient’ music cross over to different styles, up to the simple fact that there is no clear definition of what ‘ambient’ music is any more.
But to my own surprise I wasn’t really prepared for Marina Rosenfelds approach on her recent ROOM40 release P.A. / Hard Love“.

Chris Dooks – 300 Square Miles of Upwards


300 Square Miles

Shortly after the release of The Eskdalemuir Harmonium”, Chris Dooks releases the second part of what will become a colourful Idioholism trilogy.

300 Square Miles of Upwards” is released in a stunning package (designed by Rutger ‘Machinefabriek’ Zuydervelt): a bright blue vinyl 12″ album that also comes with an (extended) digital download version including a video version of the opener track ‘Gardening As Astonomy’.

Jah Wobble & Marconi Union – Anomic


Anomic

In the mid-90’s the multi-talented genius Bill Laswell proved that ambient soundscapes and low basslines can match together perfectly.
Still, it was some surprise for me to find Jah Wobble’s trademark low rumbling basslines merging with the cinematic ambient sounds of Marconi Union (Richard Talbot and Jamie Crossley) on their recent collaboration album Anomic.

Dutch Harvest: Barnhoorn – Veldhuis – Tamea – Banabila

Here’s a batch of most interesting recent releases by dutch artists (that definitely should be heard outside Holland):


Antichamber

SIDDHARTHA BARNHOORN – ANTICHAMBER
Siddhartha Barnhoorn‘s relatively young biography (since 2004) already boasts a great number of soundtracks for movies and commercials. His latest release is the soundtrack for the “Antichamber” game (released through Steam) – a game that does quite well in the gaming community as far as I can tell by the ‘metacritic score’ of 82/100.
I cannot tell anything you about the game experience (if anyone reading this has played the game please share your experience in the comment section) – but as far as the music goes: this is spectacularly atmospheric, breathing a calm that seems to be the complete stylistic opposite of the preview images’ atmosphere.

Creating game music is quite different from creating soundtrack music, as games are mostly unlinear, and it’s never known how long a player will remain at a certain scene. So it’s all about creating an atmosphere, especially one that you would love to stay in longer … and this is what Barnhoorn does very, very well.

My Home, Sinking; Bluhm; Pan-American; Chr. Virant; W.R. Fritch;

In the Shortlist sections, I will mention the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn’t find the time (or the right words) for a “full” review for. Still, I definitely think they deserve your attention, with or without extra words! 

My Home, Sinking

MY HOME, SINKING – MY HOME, SINKING
Enrico Coniglio often refers to Venice (Italy) in his music, which may explain the name of his new project. Released by Fluid Audio in a stunningly beautiful package (which is quickly selling out so don’t hesitate) it marks the label’s venture into new musical territory: ambient/experimental/improv crossover to rock/pop oriented music. This might have been risky ’cause when it failed it would have lost both audiences. But with this incredible set – and the help of people like Barbara De Dominicis, Laura Sheeran, Orla Wren and Katie English – Enrico Coniglio and Fluid Audio manage to define a completely new quality standard.

“The joined arsenal boasts acoustic instrumentation as well as synthesizer, manipulations and field recordings. Here guitar, cello, piano, harmonica, melodica, percussion and voice ring alongside Korg Monotron, Orla Wren’s processing, and Coniglio’s vinyls.Tracks range from glowing string examinations to humming whitewashes, from vocal reveries to textured pop allure.”


MY HOME, SINKING – MORNING WALK


Bluhm

BLUHM – THE VALE OF TEARS
The newly-set Fluid Audio standard is immediately and easily met by the labels follow-up release by Bluhm, a collaboration of Tim (‘Maps and Diagrams’) Diagram and Macedonian singer Genoveva.
They present a sound more ‘psychedelic’, with washes of echoes and vocal dubs, but (as My Home, Sinking does) their new releases also clearly marks a new musical direction.

“The musical production side utilises Tim’s trademark palette of drone, delay, reverb, discord, distortion, tape effects and granular synthesis. All consciously crafted with the light, ardour and purity that is always associated with his oeuvre. These primary melodies were presented to Genoveva, who then added her seraphic vocals.”
“It’s an exploratory, elemental union that includes a significant, immersive and expressive vocal narrative. The overall theme of light and hope is perhaps not so apparent on the first few listens because the vocals are full of hidden mystery. However, its nascent sense of optimism does become apparent the more you listen to it, essentially it’s a journey of hope”


BLUHM – WHEN WE CRY


Marsen Jules Trio – Présence Acousmatique


Marsen Jules Trio

Only short after the minimalistic generative soundscape presented on The Endless Change of Colour“, Marsen Jules displays a completely different musical approach with this album by the Marsen Jules Trio.

As the …Trio indicates, this album presents Marsen Jules’ atmospheric soundscapes with the addition of two other musicians: twin brothers Anwar Alam (piano) and Jan-Philipp Alam (violin), with whom Marsen Jules played tours and festivals across the USA, Canada and Europe.

Présence Acousmatiqueis a stunning synergy of ambient, avant-garde, modern classical and introspective jazz music. It is released on Jules’ own Oktaf label, but stylistically it would have also fitted the ECM (new) series.

Chris Weeks; Leonardo Rosado; Orientalism; Drøn; Gavin Miller

In the Shortlist sections, I will mention the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn’t find the time (or the right words) for a “full” review for. 
Still, I definitely think they deserve your attention, with or without extra words! 

Chris Weeks - Ebb and Flow

CHRIS WEEKS – THE EBB AND THE FLOW
“Staring out to sea. The Ebb & Flow of the tide. Waves of sorrow wash over you; a deep melancholy. Comfortable, a self-aware sadness. Its motives: wistful, romantic, hopeful, not without purpose; absorbing, fuelling creativity, a source of inspiration.”

Various Compilations

Compilation albums are a great – and often low budget – way to find new music and artists that you may possibly want to check out further.
And, of course, that is exactly why they are made.
Check out the compilations below for hours and hours of music exploring (about 10 hours, to be exact!):

Sequence 6

SEQUENCE 6 [Free Download]
This Future Sequence compilation offers 4 (four!) hours of music – 40 tracks, which were chosen from over 160 (!) submissions. The fact that this is the sixth volume in this series of free compilations within two years demonstrates the ambient/experimental music scene is more alive than it ever was.
As with most compilation albums, not every track will probably be to your liking, but even if you leave these out there’s enough left to go on for hours. As in all previous editions of the Sequence compilations, tracks from established artists are juxtaposed with those of emerging artists.

Lyndsie Alguire – Clair Obscur

Most of the time I try to review albums as if they were a debut release, without historical context about the artists involved, and presented without packaging.
It’s arguable, I know, but this way I try to let the music do all the work and listen to it as unbiased as possible.

This is why I wish I had NOT seen the package images for this release of Lyndsie Alguire‘s Clair Obscur” .
For now I somehow feel like the guy that keeps arguing he ónly reads Playboy Magazine because of its interviews…

Ian Hawgood & Friends – Wolven (A Modern Reinterpretation)


Wolven

In its relatively short existence (almost 4 years), the Hibernate label has presented us with many beautiful releases and positioned themselves as one of the most important independent labels at the very centre of the ‘ambient’ music scene. Or – since it’s increasingly difficult to use the word ‘ambient’ as a genre definition: music “both abstract and melodic but always with a hint of melancholy.”

The Hibernate label kicked off in 2009 with a release that set a high standard immediately: Wolfskin“, by Ian Hawgood – well-known for his own music as well as from the labels he curates: Home Normal and Koen Music.

Hibernate and Koen Music (KoMu) now present a 2-CD set revisiting the original “Wolfskin” release, called Wolven – A Modern Reinterpretation”.